My go-to berry crisp for years, these individual berry crisps make wonderful easy non-soggy servings and leftovers, which are even more special because of the to-die-for fantastic 'big crumb' topping recipe I have perfected. Truly our family's 'tried-and-true' berry crisp dessert recipe!
I've loved berry crisp for as long as I can remember. Sweet and sour with a yummy crunchy topping. Oh, and with a bit of vanilla ice cream slowly melting on it- heavenly.
What I've never loved about it is serving it- there seems to be no way around the blob that ends up in the bowl, and sometimes the crispy topping ends up underneath the berries making it soggy (horrors!).
"Berry mush" just doesn't sound quite as good as "berry crisp" does it? And if there are leftovers? Ugh. Leftover berry crisp is not crisp and there's no amount of reheating that's going to bring it back to it's initial glory.
Enter the individual ramekin - what a revelation the first time I made crisp in these beauties! Perfectly crisp, never too much juice covering all the good topping, and perfectly sized for each person resulting in NO leftovers. And when placed on a small plate, they turn humble berry crisp into something almost elegant to serve. And a lot easier than a glob of stuff on a plate.
The other wonderful thing about making them individually (as if I haven't gone on and on about it already...) is that it is easy to make just the amount you need, even if that's only two or three- or even just one.
Individual Berry Crisps & Big Crumb Topping
You can use fresh or frozen the berries (if using frozen, no need to defrost- just pile 'em in), tossing them with a some flour, adding a bit of brown sugar or honey if your berries are sour.
I love using a food processor to combine the topping - it's so easy and it's the trick for getting the wonderful 'big crumb' topping that doesn't melt into the berries while baking. Process until the dough forms a clump and then divide the big pieces on the tops of the berries, squeezing any smaller particles into clumps and pressing down slightly. Sprinkling small pieces will just make them dissolve into the berry juice, resulting in a soggy topping.
Oh my. Yes, yes- no melted, soggy topping here!
Make ahead tip: I often make these hours before I want to serve them and keep them in the refrigerator, placing them in the oven to cook while we are eating dinner. They come out bubbling and ready for that scoop of ice cream.
Individual Berry Crisps with Fantastic Big Crumb Topping
- (6) 1 cup sized ramekins - adjust recipe for smaller or larger sizes*
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds berries any type, frozen or fresh
- 1/3 cup brown sugar + more to mix with berries, if desired**
- 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour divided (see note for gluten-free option)
- 2/3 cup whole rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter chilled and cut into 8 tablespoons
- Heat oven to 375 degrees for baking immediately (if baking later - see note - make sure oven is preheated before baking).
- Mix the berries (no need to thaw if frozen) with 2 tablespoons flour and a bit of sugar or honey, if desired. Divide evenly between the ramekins.
- Place remaining flour, oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter pieces in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture starts holding together.
- Break off "pieces" of the topping and evenly cover the berries in the ramekins, pressing down as needed, but keeping most of the topping in clumps (don't break up and sprinkle little pieces).
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (adding about 5 minutes if starting with frozen berries), until the edges are bubbling and the topping is browned.
- Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.
Pin to your favorite dessert board:
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in July of 2011.